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Two-mom family - Please share your thoughts

post #1 of 160
Thread Starter 
I'd like to hear some different voices on how YOU envision you and your child interacting with same-sex parented families.

We are a two mommy household with a 16 month old son. We "pass" consistently as women friends or sisters, especially now with our son in tow. A rainbow flag on my sweater would come across as an admission sticker from the children's museum. When people hear us say mommy and momma, they think we were both married to the same man and one of us is the step mom. Being gay is one category out of many that define us.... and I don't look gay any more than I look like I am an Ohio-an.

On the playground, at the Children's Museum, in your child's class in school... how do we come out to your family? Do you want to "see" us or not?

I understand that some would prefer to avoid any sexuality discussions with their child till a certain age, and would be glad we are "invisible". Others may want to gradually expose their child to diversity "age-appropriately" (which means different things to different people). Others may wish they had more diversity around their kids!

I appreciate folks will have different approaches. I welcome your honest thoughts.
post #2 of 160
I want you to come out to our family! Although we haven't ever specifically addressed the issue with DD, sometimes she talks about the day when she'll have two mommies, so a family with two mommies doesn't seem too odd to her. She might ask where the daddy is (because she is in a stage right now where she always expects a complete family unit to be present wherever a baby or children are), but I think we could just say 'this little boy has two mommies instead' and that might work.
post #3 of 160
Maybe this won't really count because our lesbian and gay friends have always been a part of life with DS so DS has never grown up thinking parents means mom and dad. He's 5 and has never questioned why so and so has two moms or two dads and he has a mom and dad. He's also always known what gay, lesbian, bi and straight means and reminds me he's gay every so often.

So I don't really know what it would be like for him to not be aware. I certainly wouldn't expect the two of you to have to come out to anyone in any ways different than straight parents which usually involves holding hands as your child bounds up ahead of you at the park, using your terms of endearments for each other (I'm usually following up a request or comment with "love") - all the things which identify BF as my lover and not my brother. But I am in an urban centre and our last neighbourhood was the gay village so I realize I am privledged living in a progressive area and that suggestions like those may not be practical or safe for your family.

I just think parents do their kids such a disservice by sheltering them from any diversity. We live (and are better for it) in a diverse world and I've never seen it as fair to raise children with any understanding that doesn't acknowledge that.
post #4 of 160
post #5 of 160
I would really like my children to have more exposure to all kinds of families than they do. At their young ages, I don't think we'd really have much conversation about it--not becasue of "appropriateness" or "inappropriateness", but just becasue I'd ideally like them to be surrounded by diversity and accept it as the status quo and not need to call it out as a difference. However, we moved recently from an area in which we had friends of varied sexual orientations to an area that we have many fewer. I look forward to making new friends that I enjoy hanging out with, and I would be happy if some of them had lifestyles that would expose our kids to families different from ours but also similar in the ways that matter.

So, a lot of rambling to say that I would be happy to know your familial status, and would be very accepting an open, but wouldn't expect you to have to "announce" yourself to us. I would imagine that having to explain your family to everyone you met at the park, store, etc would get pretty tiring, and may also get old for your DC as he gets older. But, I'd love to meet your family and hang out!
post #6 of 160
Thread Starter 
I am absolutely me and I don't self-censor. But IMO visibility as a lesbian couple is not the same thing as visibility as an interracial couple. Being Gay is more like being an Ohioan or a vegetarian than being Black or Korean. If you don't know me, you don't know. I also find that being a mother adds another layer that cloaks sexuality. You become a universal "mother" and gesutures turn maternal rather than relationshippy. I swear my partner could put her hand in my bra at the park and people would assume she was feeling for a clogged duct or helping me with my latch!

LotusDebi, I would never act one way at home and another in public. I would never send my child mixed messages or be ashamed of who I am. But "just being me" does not equal visibility at all So what I am asking about is the slippery subject of visibility. How do other people think they will meet gay families? How do we come out in ways that are authentic and not staged? I know other gay families struggle with visibility

I am comfortable with families coming from different points of reference on this topic and I started this thread to learn more about how others feel. I would ask that in this thread people be encouraged to discuss their approach without judgment or calling "homophobia."
post #7 of 160
post #8 of 160
Thread Starter 
Stacy & JenniferC -
Wanted to ask you both... as moms of toddlers, and if you home school later on... how do you envision people "coming out" to you? And where? Are you all meeting moms at the park and library and getting into open conversations and planning playdates... and I am just the only sleep deprived socially inept one who just nods and smiles across the room but never manages a real conversation, much less coming out!?!

Edited to add (cross post)-
LotusDebi, I thought from other posts you are married to a man. See, I didn't know you were queer either. How would I have known? I must not be "seeing" something like the secret handshake! As a lesbian mom myself I can't spot other two-mom families. I would love to know your tips on how I can "spot" other lesbian parents! Is it their hair? Their clothes? I know it's not affection because the lesbian couples I know are usually touched out, exhausted, and borderline-bickering with each other rather than doing PDA in public. Somehow I made it 34 years as a lesbian and I am still missing the secret handshake!
post #9 of 160
How would we interact with you? Um, by saying, "Hello." To me it wouldn't matter if you are gay or straight. Our next door neighbors are two men. This summer we got to watch a commitment ceremony on the beach from a distance. My parents live near a town with a high gay population- about 50% of the residents are gay. My kids are used to seeing same sex couples when we go to visit. We've talked about it and explained it.

Do I expect you to come out to me? Not really. I mean, I don't really expect you to walk up and say, "Hi, I'm gay." But if you hold hands, or introduce each other as your partner, or if your child says, "These are my mommies", then I'll probably figure it out. If I asked about your husband, it woud help me out if you would correct me and say something, at which case I'd be embarassed for my mistake and apologize. But we'd get over it and be friends.

As for planning playdates and such, I usually like to know more about a person first. By the time I invited you over I'd probably already know. I am by nature someone who is quieter until I've been around a person for awhile.
post #10 of 160
[QUOTE=Kincaid]I swear my partner could put her hand in my bra at the park and people would assume she was feeling for a clogged duct or helping me with my latch!

I hope you don't mind my saying... : I know you were making a serious point, but it really made me laugh!
post #11 of 160
post #12 of 160
If I see two people of the same sex with a child, I tend to assume they are a same-sex couple. Wishful thinking, I guess, because often I am wrong.

If I were talking to you and you wanted me to know that you are in a same-sex relationship, I would want you to use the word partner, and maybe give a nod in your partner's direction, just to make it clear. Or even the word wife, if that's the word you use. I would want you to be as direct and casual about it as I am when I refer to my husband.

I absolutely want to SEE you. I absolutely want your presence known.

We are good friends with a same-sex couple who runs our Dharma Center. Like us, they have a child adopted through a tranrsacial international adoption. Soon after we met them, we visited their house. Ramona really liked that their house was painted purple and green and asked me whether their son's daddy painted it. I said that I thought the boy's Momma (who was home when we were there) and Mommy (who was at work when we were there) painted it. Ramona said, "Where is [the boy's] Daddy?" I said that this boy had a birthmom and a birthdad in Guatemala, just like Efram (Ramona's brother) did, and that his Momma and Mommy adopted him and became his parents just like we adopted Efram and became his parents. I said that the boy doesn't have a Dad in America but he does have a birthdad in Gautemala. That seemed to satisfy Ramona's curiosity and she has, on occasion, noted that the boy has two moms, but to her it doesn't seem unnatural.

If my kids ever were to ask why either of the women aren't married to a man I would simply tell them that people can fall in love with anyone, boy or girl, and that this boy's Mommas are in love and married just like Daddy and and I are (aside from the fact that stupid fricking Ohio doesn't legally allow that ... THAT'S a discussion that I would save for when my kids are older). I am not uncomfortable with discussing that with my kids, and frankly I want them to know about and understand it now so that it's something they grow up always knowing is normal.

I am always so grateful when I see a same-sex couple or family who makes no bones about it.

post #13 of 160
Kincaid, to answer your questions, I tend to meet people in one of two ways. The first is easiest: planned, scheduled, recurring groups. My husband is a ophthlamology resident, and most teaching hospitals (at least big academic ones) have spouses/significant other groups that have lots of activities--from playgroups to wine tastings. I do the playgroups. It is easy to meet people since nearly all of us are transplants with no friends or family near. This is how I met the one two-mom family I know. The non-medical partner was talking to me and pointed out her daughter (the same age as my son) in the arms of her partner. She used the word "partner", the person holding the baby was a woman, and I got it. I suggested we get together to chat when she had time, and she visited us the next week at our house. (the gathering we were at was an introduction/welcome to the new residents/get-to-know you thing, so it didn't seem weird--we both came to meet people in similar circumstances). I have also met mommies at my gym in the family & me class I go to, and could ask some of them if they'd like to get together sometime if I wanted to, it would be easy.

The second way is through casual encounters--like at the park, store, library, etc... I think this way is harder to actually make friends, but I have managed to do it once or twice. But, since you may only see these people once, you have to open conversation. For me, it usually starts with typical, mind-numbing "how old is he?" and similar baby/kid talk. But if someone seems interesting, the conversation can be expanded by asking further questions like: if they've lived in town their whole lives, do they have any good suggestions of local activities they like to do with their kids, read any good books lately since you're (of course) at the library or headed there... This is when you could use "partner" and "she" in the same breath, or "wife" if you prefer that. I would catch on really fast, since I am very open to it and comfortable.

I know that I probably would not ask you if you were a lesbian if I suspected it (and I tend to be right often on my hunches--at least I think I am!) --I figure that would be your information to share if you wanted to. In fact, we have a new duplex-neighbor as of September, and I am fairly positive she has a girlfriend (many reasons to believe that). She has not introduced her "friend" as anything but "friend", and I haven't asked. I wish she would open the door to the conversation so I could let her know that DH and I are very accepting and she could feel safe in coming out to us, but it hasn't happened. (clearly we don't talk that often--she is a coach and gone a lot, and now it is majorly winter and we don't really see each other outside) I feel like there may be reasons she doesn't tell us--maybe she is not totally comfortable with it herself yet, worried that it could make problems with us, or maybe I'm wrong. Whatever it is, I don't feel comfortable flat-out asking her.
post #14 of 160
Originally Posted by dharmamama
If I see two people of the same sex with a child, I tend to assume they are a same-sex couple. Wishful thinking, I guess, because often I am wrong.
me too. in fact i am frequently disappointed to see the moms or dads that complete to two couples trailing behind.

but to answer your actual questions. sort of.

i don't think you have to discuss "sexuality" to explain to your child that all families are different. just like some children have mom, dad and step-mom, some have two moms or two dads or just one mom or dad. and a family is family even if they don't have children.

you probably wouldn't realy have to "come out" to my family. dd will know same sex couples with and without children. we live in a diverse city and thought she doesn't know it dd already knows kids with two mommies. but also my best friend is gay and he and his partner plan to have children at some point. i would probably figure out that you were a lesbian when you mentioned your partners name (assuming it's obviously female). i wouldn't necesarily assume anything just because you said partner. although i must admit i enjoy the look one faces when i say partner as they try to guess if my dp is male or female (male) and i often don't correct the assuption that he's a she.

at the same time i'm don't think you have to advertise your orientation. it doesn't matter to me anymore than if your an ohio-an (i like that analogy, btw) or another race, for that matter. but i would definitely want you to be a part of my community!

post #15 of 160
Lots of kids at the school my children go to have gay parents. I have had parents introduce themselves to me -- "we're a two-mom family." Since all of my kids have had friends with gay parents it's not anything that needs an explination. I say go with whatever feels comfortable to you.
post #16 of 160
Originally Posted by Kincaid
On the playground, at the Children's Museum, in your child's class in school... how do we come out to your family?
Please introduce your family to me any way you wish!
post #17 of 160
Well, seeing as we have the same 'invisibility' quotient, I'd love for you to be casually open about it - it's always nice to know we aren't the only ones

btw - you aren't the only one missing the 'gaydar' I absolutely stink at it...and you know, I don't mind, 'cause I don't want to assume _either_ way...

post #18 of 160
I would think that if you are together, causual affection (holding hands, eating food from one another's plates, touching the other's hair or face) would be a way to come out.

If you are alone and strike up a conversation, using the word "partner" or ought to do the trick.
post #19 of 160
I have had only one "bad" experience with a lesbian couple and their son. They accused my dd(6 yo) of being homophobic and making fun of their son, because she told him she has two moms and two dads, which she does.
I am not lesbian, but another woman has taken the responsibility to help me raise my children. It has nothing to do with sexuality.

My dd was merely sharing with this boy, and he was excited that he was not alone in having two moms, but when he told his moms, they went ballistic. I really felt bad for him, to have his parents constantly feel attacked and see them attack another over sexuality.

Parenting is about parenting, whether you are male, female, neither or both(don't remember what the words are for those last two ).

I'd like to hear some different voices on how YOU envision you and your child interacting with same-sex parented families.
I don't need to envision, because we do just fine. We have lots of friends and family who are GLBT. Lots of love, lots of hugs, and tons of laughs. Same as any relationship/friendship, if we all enjoy each other, why stop? If someone is toxic, no need to have them around.
post #20 of 160
I would probably assume that two women with a baby were lesbians. In fact, I almost said something very awkward at a party last Halloween, just before the kid's father showed up to join the mom and the au pair.

My girlfriend (I'm polyamorous) is very, very childfree. It freaked her out, when my daughter was born, to realize that people who saw us together would assume that she was Alex's other mother.
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